SAN DIEGO – The time is now for voters to act in the San Diego County District 4 race, with the special election just over a week away.

“When it comes to real local issues, it comes down to the board,” shared North Park voter Carlos Lemos amid the race for the vacant District 4 seat. “This is about the immediate community.” 

He along with other voters in Central and Eastern San Diego County are now headed to the ballot box to cast their vote with in-person voting centers up and running as of this past weekend.

“We don’t know what to anticipate for this election. So far, we have over 53,000 mail-in ballots returned and being processed into the count,” shared Registrar of Voters, Cynthia Paes.

Monica Montgomery Steppe, Janessa Goldbeck, Amy Reichert, and Paul McQuigg are all vying for former San Diego County District 4 Nathan Fletcher’s spot. This comes months after his resignation in May following allegations of sexual misconduct.

“We need change. I think the main deal here is that what we have been doing hasn’t worked,” shared Lemos.

Along with the 29 mail-in ballot drop box locations stationed throughout the district, there are seven in-person voting centers now up and running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., giving residents several opportunities to cast ballots until next Monday. Then on Election Day, there will be seven additional places to vote and extended hours.

Voters will also have until Tuesday, August 15 to return their mail ballot. The envelope must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the Registrar’s office on the 7th day (Aug. 22) after Election Day.

If you have yet to register, according to the Registrar of Voters, it’s not too late. “They can visit any vote center, they can register and vote provisionally that same day,” said Paes.

The cost of the special election and potential run off is estimated to be around $5 million dollars. A hefty price, but a worthy election cost for longtime University Heights resident Larry Carr, who has is concerned about housing issues in his part of town.

“Most people here accept the fact that we need to increase density around the city and University Heights has done its fair share. I think there’s some concern that we’ve been carrying more of the burden than in other parts of the city,” shared Carr.

400,000 registered voters in District 4 have been sent mail-in ballots over the past few weeks, but according to Paes, this race is still expected to draw low voter turnout.

“They always say if you don’t vote then you don’t have a right to complain and I know a lot of people like to complain about the issues facing us,” said Carr.

If no one wins the majority vote, a runoff with the top two candidates is slated for November 7th. The winner will serve the remainder of Fletcher’s current term ending in January of 2027.